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What To Get School-Age to Tween Boys for Birthdays, Holidays, or Christmas

Updated on August 7, 2014
What kinds of gifts are good for boys around the age of 8 until early teens?
What kinds of gifts are good for boys around the age of 8 until early teens? | Source

Once a boy reaches a certain age, around 8 or 9 up to thirteen or fourteen, they can be very hard to shop for. If they don't really play with toy trucks and trains the way younger kids do, then picking out the right gift can be really hard for the giver.

As the mom of two tween boys, I have observed what gifts are the biggest hit for them and for their friends.

My aim is to making shopping for that tween boy in your life simple and easy.

But first let's start with a word of caution and what NOT to get a tween boy unless you know very specifically about his interests.

What *Not* To Get A Tween Boy As A Gift

None of this applies if you know the boy personally and he has an interest in something in particular. But if it is one that you do not know super well or a relative you don't see that often, you'll want to be careful about giving the following gift items.

  • Clothes: Most tween boys could care less about clothing and will feel like it is a lame gift if they get some. Only purchase this kind of gift if you know of a particular clothing item that he may want.
  • Puzzles: Most tween boys do not enjoy the painstaking work that it takes to put together a puzzle, let alone the fact that they are likely to lose the pieces in a matter of days.
  • Video Games: If you don't know much about video games, if you don't know what kind or kinds of gaming systems the boy has or what he is into, refrain from purchasing a video game. See my list below for what to give a gaming boy.
  • Footballs, Baseballs, etc.: Again, if you know the boy well and he loves these kind of things go for it. But today's tween boys are likely to have interests that expand beyond these cliche' gifts for boys and may not really either enjoying playing the sport or have the space to play it.
  • Outdoor Recreational items: This would include bikes, skateboards, scooters and variations of these types of items. Unless you know he has specifically asked for one of these (and you are the one designated to get it) then you may want to hold off on that. He may already have the type of recreational item he uses or not like that particular item.

What To Get A Tween Boy As A Gift

Here is a list of some tried and true gifts that many, modern boys will enjoy and cherish. Even more convenient, most of them can be bought online so there's no need to even have to search a store for the item.

I'll explain a little bit about the items and include a sample from Amazon.

Your Tween Boy Will Love Minecraft Accessories

Minecraft Toys

Minecraft is a game for the computer that is deceptively simple yet it occupies the fascination of and inspires the creativity of many tween boys.

The game looks like an electronic version of Legos but it is so much more than that. It involves math, engineering, and science as well as planning and collaboration.

It is highly likely that your tween boy plays and enjoys Minecraft at least on occasion.

You can very likely purchase any type of Minecraft themed gift (other than the game, they likely already own that) and be greeted with a big smile and ample excitement. I would even lift my rule of no-clothing to say that a Minecraft t-shirt is usually an exception to this rule. Most of my kids' friends own multiple Minecraft t-shirts.

Nerf Toys

Nerf brand toys which can include guns that shoot soft darts tend to be a favorite, especially among the younger end of the tween set.

With these there are many types from ones that hold multiple darts to ones that hold just a few. So there is usually a Nerf product to fit any budget.

It's also a good idea to get a refill pack of the soft darts as they can be lost easily when playing with them outside or even around the house.

It's very often more fun for the tween boy to play with someone so giving them several cheaper ones, especially if it is the holidays or a birthday party and many people are there to play, can make for a fun afternoon.

Even if a boy has Nerf products, there is a likelihood that he will enjoy more and Nerf usually comes out with new products every year.

For The Tween Boy That's A Gamer

Gift Card For GameStop

It's okay if you don't know what GameStop is or have never been to it. It's very likely that your tween boy does.

GameStop is a store that carries new and used video games for every type of platform. This includes PlayStation, XBox, Wii, and PC.

So you don't have to know what platform the boys uses or which one he uses the most if he has more than one.

At GameStop he can also trade old games or ones that he has already played for new ones so giving him this gift card gives him many options.

This gift card is even better than money because it gives him an excuse to go there!

For The Tween Boy That Enjoys Experiences

Certificate or Gift Card For An Experience

Whether the tween boy is local or in another state, a gift certificate or gift card for a fun experience can be a great treat and something different that he can enjoy.

To find a good fit think about local places in town that have activities. One example is an arcade. Dave and Buster's is a franchise that you can find in many parts of the country and it has both an arcade and a restaurant. A quick Google search can tell you if there is one in the local area for the tween boy.

Some other experiences that might be a good idea for the boy:

  • A certificate to play paintball at a local paintball field
  • A gift card to a water park
  • A gift card for go-carts
  • A gift card for bowling or mini-golf
  • A gift card to play laser tag

Nerf toys can be very popular, especially if there is a large group to play.
Nerf toys can be very popular, especially if there is a large group to play. | Source

Shopping for a tween boy doesn't have to be too hard and you can still personalize a gift without resorting to just handing him money (which works in a pinch but isn't very personal).

Even a gift card targeted at something he enjoys or might enjoy shows him that you're thinking about him.

What Activity Does Your Tween Boy Enjoy

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    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      The tips you included are worthwhile. You certainly know your tweens well.

    • iguidenetwork profile image


      5 years ago from Austin, TX

      Gift cards are really a neat idea... plus it's more fuss-free. I'm sure my boys would have liked that! Thanks for sharing. :)


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